Cold War Revision Notes and IBDP Essay Responses

Make sure you have a working definition for ‘Cold War´- It describes the conflict between the USSR and the ‘Western Powers´ in the period following WWII / Period of tension characterised by conflict at diplomatic, economic and all levels short of actual armed conflict between the principals on either side.

Breakdown of wartime co-operation between the Allies (Obvious at Yalta and Potsdam conferences hence its focus in paper 2 questions)
As HL students are aware, it is possible to trace as far back as 1917 when the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia led to the creation of the world´s first communist state (in conflict with the West)
Didn´t emerge until after WWII because the USSR and USA were both isolated after WWI and USSR could not put into practice the ideal of exporting revolution- Munich is a PERFECT example.

Factors which contributed to the outbreak of the Cold War

John D Clare offers B-A-R-E: (Blame, Aims, resentment of History and a series of Events)

Mutual suspicion

(“The claim that the breakdown of superpower relations between 1945 and 1950 was the result of mutual fear and suspicion has been greatly exaggerated.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?) from the May 2013 Paper 2 exam
Nature of the official ideology of the USSR: stated the inevitability of conflict with western capitalist states contributing to suspicions from the west; It was not certain that Stalin was motivated by this Marxist-Leninist ideology
Liberal-democratic system of the West was not well understood by Stalin: the allies were unable to commit themselves ‘on the spot´ but had to refer to their parliament or congress, this was evidence for Stalin of lack of faith.
Conflict between fundamental aims of Stalin and Roosevelt:
Roosevelt had idealistic aims (‘four freedoms´: Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religious Belief and Freedom from Fear)
Stalin had more concrete aims (regaining Russian territory lost in the Great War, control over Eastern Europe…)
Tendency to interpret the actions of the other in the light of their own priorities.
Nature of Stalin´s regime: dictatorship of USSR was only justified if external forces threatened the security of USSR, therefore to prevent the danger of being overthrown from within, Stalin had to have external enemies.
Death of Roosevelt: Stalin had a great deal of respect for him / Truman was far less of an internationalist and far less willing to extent goodwill to the USSR / Churchill replaced by Attlee.

The bipolar nature of international relations: USSR and USA were the only real powers in the immediate post-WWII period and as representatives of rival social systems they were forced into confrontation.

The Cold War develops — events 1944-1949 The Yalta Conference, February 1945:
Most of the discussions involved the arrangements for Europe following ending of the war since defeat of Nazi Germany was only a matter of time.
The Allies had been united by a negative goal and had not agreed on a positive goal, which could continue to unite them once Hitler was not a threat anymore.

The Issues:

Germany to be divided into zones of occupation as previously agreed.
Moved away from the ‘Morgenthau Plan´ (reducing Germany to an agricultural country but not alternative was found).
Eliminate or control "all German industry that could be used for military purposes".
Trials of the leading war criminals were agreed.
Commission to be established to determine reparations.
The defeated and liberated states:

Complaint by USA and UK that Stalin had not given the co-operation of Soviet authorities in areas occupied by the Red Army.
Declaration on Liberated Europe (what was to be done with Liberated countries)
Agreed that action regarding these areas should be joint action.

UK and USA had recognized Polish Gov. in exile while Stalin recognized the Lublin Committee (Polish communists).
Suggested that the 2 groups co-operate and that ‘free and unfettered elections…on the basis of universal suffrage and secret ballot´ would be held.
No decisive conclusion on frontiers but agreed that Soviet frontier would advance westwards and Poland would be compensated from German territory.

USSR agreed to enter war against Japan within ‘2 or 3 months of the ending of hostilities in Europe´
USSR to regain all territory lost to Japan in 1904/05 war and to have the major interest in the railways in Northern China
The Potsdam Conference, July/August 1945:

Truman represented the USA / Churchill was replaced by Attlee / Truman informed Stalin of the US atomic bomb.
Council of Foreign Ministers formed to draft peace treaties with defeated enemy states.
Reparations: USSR to begin collecting reparations from its zone / eventually to receive a percentage of reparations from western zones.
Arrangements for trial of Nazi leaders went ahead in the American zone.
Areas of Disagreement:

Stalin wanted the districts of Kars and Ardahan in Turkey.
Stalin demanded trusteeship of one of the former Italian colonies in Africa.
Stalin proposed joint action on Franco (rejected by western powers)
Stalin proposed discussion of situation in Syria and Lebanon but UK and FR considered this to be of their concern.
USA and UK not able to access areas of Europe occupied by the Red Army.
Stalin moved the frontier of the USSR westwards and handed over to Poland a large area of the Soviet zone of Germany (including land to which the Allies had not agreed)

The breakdown of the alliance followed rapidly as conflicts arose in a number of areas:

This was the focus in the CNN Cold War episode we watched in class where the northern part of the country was to be a Russian sphere of interest / Southern part a British sphere.
During WWII country jointly occupied because on a supply route to the USSR.
September 1944: British negotiate an oil concession with Iranian Gov. for Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and Standard Oil of USA and so Soviet seek a similar concession / Iranians (encouraged by West) refuse.
USSR began to give support to groups opposed to monarchy in Iran / refused to withdraw troops in 1945 / established ‘independent´ republic of Azarbaijani.
January 1946: Iran complains to UN security council
March 1946: USSR agrees to withdraw troops
Iranian forces move to restore Gov. control over ‘Azarbaijani´ and Soviet troops move to the border / both UK and USA threaten to support Iran and so USSR backs down.

Teheran Conference (1943): Churchill stated that USSR was entitled to better access to the world´s principal sea routes.
March 1945: USSR demands that the treaty concerning the use of the Straits be revised / demand for naval base on the Dardanelles / demand for return of the old Czarist provinces of Kars and Ardahan and so Turks refused and are supported by UK
August 1946: USA stated that any attack upon Turkey would justify action by Security Council of UN and moved an aircraft carrier force to Istanbul.

October 1944: Agreement between Churchill and Stalin on spheres of influence in Balkans.
December 1944: British begin supporting the Greek monarchy against communist forces backed by Yugoslavia and Albania (suspicion that Stalin was behind the communist moves)
Feb. 1947: UK informs USA of their inability to support the Greek Gov. (USA must step in or there would be a further advance for the communist cause) and so Truman decides to help stating his interpretation of events in what became known as the Truman Doctrine.

Allies agree that Germany should not be allowed to become a threat to them again / little agreement as to how this ought to be done.
Early problems caused by the French (because de Gaulle obviously had not been invited to any of the ‘Big Three´ conferences and did not feel bound by any of the agreements reached there despite his country having been liberated by them)
More serious differences soon arise between USSR and western allies:

Carrying out the Potsdam agreement proved difficult because of the v. poor state of the German economy.
UK and USA were having to send reparations from their zones to the Soviets (unable to sell industrial produce to pay for imported food)
Soviets not sending the agreed food supplies from their largely agricultural sector
Spring 1946: UK and USA stop reparation deliveries to the Soviet zone.

Sept. 6th 1946: Byrnes (US Secretary of State) acknowledges that Potsdam agreement is not working and proposed that UK and USA merge their zones to form one economic unit. and so done in January 1947 with the French zone joining in 1949.

Political developments:
Under Potsdam agreement, setting up of ‘free democratic and anti-fascist´ parties had been provided for.
June 1945: Soviets allowed formation of political parties / in contrast with developments in the west (i.e.: French still talking of annexing the Saar)
December 1945: talks of merger between Communist and Social Democrats and so referendum in March 1946 but rejected.
Soviets went ahead with the merger in their own zone.
German political leaders in the west decided to form groups within the other zones: Soviet attempt to control German political parties had failed.
June 1947: anti-Soviet Reuter elected as Mayor of Berlin / Not recognized by Soviet General Kotikov and so parties were henceforth to develop separately in the Soviet zone and the western zones.
The Council of Foreign Ministers:

March 1947; fourth session of the council began in Moscow: made no progress because of the announcement of the Truman Doctrine and so conference broke up. Eastern Europe:

By May 1945 Red Army occupied a vast area of Eastern Europe / ‘Declaration on Liberated Europe´ was the only guarantee that the Soviet area would not be used to strengthen USSR
Churchill had sought to improve the western position by:

Urging USA to order US armies to advance as far to the east as possible before ending of the war and so refused by Roosevelt who was suspicious of Churchill´s motives.
Attempting to convince the USA that its planned withdrawal of troops from Europe should not take place so long as the Red Army had several million men under arms.
Churchill stated: "An iron curtain is drawn down upon their front. We do not know what is going on behind."
Between 1945-47 the USSR strengthened the position of Communist parties in Eastern Europe whilst denying western officials access to the area.

Policy of Containment:
by 1947 the USA began to reshape its policy to meet what it saw as the growing influence of the Soviet Union.
March 1947: Truman Doctrine.
June 1947: USA made known the means by which the above policy would be implemented: Marshall Aid.
It was hoped that the root cause of discontent (need for European recovery) and spread of communism would be halted.
USSR attended initial meetings but soon withdrew and obliged Eastern Europe states to do likewise.
End August 1947: USSR replied to what it saw as a clear anti-Soviet measure by signing trade agreements with several states thus tying them into the soviet economic system (Bulgaria, .CZ, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Poland and Rumania)
June 1947: article by a US State Department Soviet specialist stated that the USA must develop "…a policy of firm containment, designed to confront the Russians with unalterable counter force at every point where they show signs of encroaching upon the interests of a peaceful and stable world…" / This involved:
Decision to maintain large US forces in Europe in peacetime.
Establishment of a peacetime alliance (NATO) with a strong US commitment.
The Soviet Response:

Tightened its grip upon the states of Eastern Europe (1948 coup brought the last of the Eastern Europe states, .CZ, under firm communist control)
Bilateral trade agreements.
Cominform established to strengthen links between various communist parties.
Stated that WWII had been fought by USA and UK to eliminate German and Japanese industrial competition and warned that the world was now divided into "…two fronts, one imperialist, the other socialist and democratic…"
The Berlin Blockade: attempt to eliminate the only remaining area of western influence behind the ‘iron curtain´ and so failed.
Europe Divided

Europe by 1949 was divided into two rival camps each with their own political, economic and military alliances:

Western countries united through O.E.E.C. (initially formed to facilitate distribution of Marshall aid)
Countries of Eastern Europe linked to USSR economically by bilateral trade agreements and Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance — Jan 1949)
Brussels Treaty (March 1948) allied UK, FR, and Benelux countries in the event of an attack / N.A.T.O. (April 1949) wider alliance.
Soviet countries united through the Warsaw Pact (1955)
In Western Europe various organizations were established to attempt to achieve greater unity.
In Eastern Europe the USSR established Cominform to link together the various communist parties.
The effects of the development of the Cold War

International relations were dominated by the Cold War and all conflicts tended to be seen in terms of the struggle between the USA and the USSR and so international relations were bipolar.
Europe was divided with a clear line of demarcation between the capitalist west and the communist east.
Germany was not united: instead western and eastern zones gained independence separately and were not prepared to recognize each other.
No peace treaty was signed with Germany: sense of insecurity amongst countries of Eastern Europe (this was solved in 1975 at the Helsinki Conference)
Unity in western Europe was encouraged by the Soviet threat and USA who hoped that western European states would play a greater part in their own defences.
USSR tightened its control over the Eastern Europe states and so setting up of one party states.
USA abandoned its policy of avoiding peacetime commitments: it was instrumental in setting up of NATO and other regional forces.
USA adopted the policy of containment and so led to US involvement all over the world assuming that any communist group was acting upon the orders of Moscow (i.e.: Korea, Vietnam) and so USA became the ‘world policeman´.
UN was never able to fulfil the role which Roosevelt had envisaged (peaceful settlement of international disputes) because of the veto power of both the USA and USSR.

The Cold War spreads to the East

By 1949, the position in Europe was static: the last attempt to change the balance (Berlin Blockade) had failed
With the advent of nuclear weapons neither side was prepared to risk open conflict in order to change the position.
However, events in the East brought that area into the Cold War conflict:

The Communist takeover of China:
1927-1937: civil war between the Kuomintang (nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-Shek) and the Chinese Communist Party (Mao Tse-Tung)
1937-1945: uneasy truce to allow both to fight the common Japanese enemy.
By 1945 the scene was set again for a renewal of the civil war.
Truman sent General Marshal to persuade both sides to form a coalition Gov. but Chiang Kai-Shek didn't wish to share power and the Communist party had grown in strength and was not settling for less than real power sharing.
The US attitude:

USA had great interest in the future of China: supported China against its division by the Great Powers at the end of the 19th century, and against Japan.
USA was aware of the corruption of Chiang Kai-Shek´s regime and of its lack of support.
USA was aware that becoming involved in China would be an enormous undertaking (size of country, population, and backwardness)
As the Cold War developed in Europe, the USA became increasingly concern at the prospect of a victory for the forces of Mao Tse-Tung.
USA thus provided some limited support for Chiang Kai-Shek but in 1949 the remnants of the Kuomintang forces abandoned the mainland of China and fled to Taiwan (where they were protected by the US navy)

Victory of the C.C.P. in the Chinese civil war coincided with the most intense phase of the Cold War in Europe. The consequences were:

USA assumed that the takeover of the communists in China was inspired by Moscow. (in fact Stalin had urged Mao to come to terms with nationalists because he didn´t feel that a communist revolution had a chance of succeeding)
USA became increasingly eager to accept the policy of containment.
Considerable opposition in the USA to the recognition of the new regime in China.
Many people felt that China had been ‘lost´ because the USA had not taken the necessary steps to support the Gov. of Chiang.

Historians Quotes for the Cold War
Kenneth Waltz: What is a good state? Marxists say it is in fair distribution of wealth. USA and allies say multi-party democracy and sovereignty of people
John Marsden- different social structures, and each of them proving that their system was better
George Mitchell- The Iron Curtain: The Cold War in Europe
Stalin was sure that Russia could only gain from a long war in which Britain, France and Germany exhausted themselves.
John-Lewis Gaddis-post-revisionist The Cold War: A New history. We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History  Believed that both America and Russia wanted to keep the peace after the war but that conflict was caused by mutual misunderstanding, reactivity, and above all the American inability to understand Stalin's fears and need to defend himself after the war. 
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn- soviet social, Gulag Archipelago
George F. Kennan- orthodox, diplomacy
Richard Pipes- American orthodox
E.H. Carr- The twenty years crisis pro-soviet historian
Eric Hobsbawm- Marxist
Robert Divine- The Cuban Missile Crisis. Eisenhower and the Cold War
David Holloway- Stalin and the Bomb orthodox
William Taubman- Nikita Khrushchev
John Halliday and Bruce Cumings- Korea: The Unknown War
Chen Jian- Chinese Historian Mao’s China and the Cold War
William Appleman Williams- Tragedy of American Diplomacy- US was blamed for the Cold War
Gar Alperovitz -Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam (1965) Blame for Cold War on the Americans for their use of the atomic bomb 
Gabriel Kolko- The Limits of Power: The World and United States Foreign Policy Truman should have given Stalin the atomic bomb in 1945, claimed that Russia treated Poland well in 1945, and blamed South Korea for the Korean War of 1950-3. One of the most extreme revisionists.
Timothy Garton Ash- the last part of the Cold War, Europe 1975-present
Howard Zinn- social historian- A People’s History of the United States
Harry Elmer Barnes- history is based on official historians like Churchill, Cold War was artificial (no ideology, just giving labour jobs etc.), Soviets did not start Cold War, origins of Cold War- Truman and Churchill
Peter G. Boyle: American-Soviet Relations: From the Russian Revolution to the Fall of Communism.
Norman Friedman: The Fifty Year War: Conflict and Strategy in the Cold War.
Terry Anderson: The United States, Great Britain, and the Cold War, 1944-1947- orthodox view
Diane Shaver Clemens: Yalta- orthodox
Bruce Cumings: The Origins of the Korean War- pro-NK, against US intervention
Sergei Gorcharov, John Lewis, Xue Litai: Uncertain partners: Stalin, Mao and the Korean War.
Yonosuke Nagai and Akira Iriye: The Origins of the Cold War in Asia.
Michael Beschloss: Kennedy v. Khrushchev
Lawrence Freedman: Kennedy’s Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam.
Alexandr Fursenko, Timothy Naftali: One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964.
Jarolim Navratil: The Prague Spring 68
David Reynolds: The Origins of the Cold War in Europe: International Perspectives.
Frank E. Vandiver: Shadows of Vietnam: Lyndon Johnson’s Wars.
Robin Edmonds: The Soviet Foreign Policy: The Brezhnev Years.
Martin P. Leffler - A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration and the Cold War (1992) Cold War was a clash of two military establishments both seeking world domination 
Marc Trachtenberg- A Contested Peace: The Making of the European Settlement, 1945-1963 (1999) Cold War was really about settling the German question in the aftermath of World War II.

Robert J. Oppenheimer, citing from the Bhagavadgita, after witnessing the world's first nuclear explosion: "I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.
Defence Secretary Henry Stimson 1945: “US could never again be an island to itself
George Marshall June 1947: “Europe is a breeding ground of hate.”
Malenkov after Marshall Plan: “The ruling gang of American imperialists has taken the path of open expansion, of enslaving weakened capitalists countries.”
James Byrnes, 1946 Secretary of State: “Soviets understand only language How many divisions have you? I am tired of babying the Soviets.”
Molotov: “We have troops only where provided by treaties.”
Russian historians after introducing new currency in Bizonia: “The Soviet side was ready to supply food to all Berlin. Yet every day 380 American planes flew into Berlin. It was simply a propaganda move intended to make the Cold War worse.”
US State Department June 1947: “US must develop a policy of firm containment, designed to confront the Russians with unalterable counter force at every point where they show signs of encroaching upon the interests of a peaceful and stable world…”
Brzezinsky stated that “world was now divided into two fronts, one imperialistic, the other socialist and democratic…”
Lord Ismay: NATO's founding purpose back in 1949 was "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down."
Truman after invasion of South Korea: “I recall some earlier instances: Manchuria, Ethiopia, Austria. I remember how each time the democracies failed to act it had encouraged the aggressor to go ahead If this was allowed to go unchallenged it would mean a third world war.
Bradley Omar- Korea: “The wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time and with the wrong enemy
John Halliday and Bruce Cumings- Korea: The Unknown War: “Each side proclaims that it won, yet each actually seems to feel that it lost.
Kim Il-Sung: “In the Korean War, the US imperialists suffered an ignominious military defeat for the first time in the history of the US; this meant the beginning of a downward path for US imperialism.
Khrushchev 1955 in Yugoslavia: “There are different roads to communism.
1956 in London: “You do not like Communism. We do not like capitalism. There is only one way out- peaceful co-existence.”
Khrushchev in 1971: “…The Cold War set in. Churchill had given his famous speech in Fulton urging the imperialistic forces of the world to fight the Soviet Union. Our relations with England, France and the USA were ruined.
JF Kennedy “There are many people in the world who really don't understand-or say they don't-what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin!
Robert McNamara in movie Fog of War (2003) -Kennedy was rational; Khrushchev was rational; Castro was rational. Rational individuals came that close to total destruction of their societies.
Curtis Lemay- Cuban Missile Crisis: “That was the era when we might have destroyed Russia completely and not even skinned our elbows doing it.
Richard Grayson: “Britain was the Coldest Cold War Warrior
Irwin Setzler, The Times: "When President de Gaulle demanded that American troops be removed from French soil, Lyndon Johnson asked whether that included those who were buried beneath it."
How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.”
Ronald Reagan (American 40th US President (1981- 89), 1911-2004)
“Lenin was the first to discover that capitalism 'inevitably' caused war; and he discovered this only when the First World War was already being fought. Of course he was right. Since every great state was capitalist in 1914. . .”
A. J. P. Taylor

“If anyone believes that our smiles involve abandonment of the teaching of Marx, Engels and Lenin he deceives himself. Those who wait for that must wait until a shrimp learns to whistle.”
Nikita Khrushchev
“Seventy years ago this November, created the modern totalitarian state, transforming simpler forms of tyranny into history's most sophisticated apparatus of rule by terror.”
Michael Johns
“No chronology of Soviet atrocities can convey the crushing of the human spirit under Lenin and his successors. But the retelling of 70 years of grisly facts leaves little doubt that what we face today in Soviet communism is, indeed, an 'evil empire'.”
Michael Johns-
“The Cold War was over. The global standoff between superpowers was at an end. The world saw America and the West triumphant, freedom preserved, and the promises of Marx and Lenin and Stalin discredited.”
Spencer Abraham
“On one level the sixties revolt was an impressive illustration of Lenin's remark that the capitalist will sell you the rope to hang him with.”
Ellen Willis

Andrew Roberts: "As a result of the [Berlin Blockade] crisis, and the message it sent about Soviet assumptions and intentions, the United States began to build up her nuclear arsenal massively: in 1947 she had only thirteen bombs, in 1948 fifty, but by 1949 no fewer than 250."

Cold War Historiography

 Orthodox View: It was clearly Soviet aggression in Eastern Europe and then other parts of the world that had caused the Cold War. The United States had no choice but to meet the challenges posed by Soviet actions – whether those actions were seen as the result of traditional Russian imperialism or of an ideologically- driven expansionism that arose, ultimately, from the Bolshevik revolution of 1917.

 Examples: Herbert Feis, Churchill-Roosevelt- Stalin: The War They Waged and the Peace They Sought (New York, 1957); Feis, From Trust to Terror: The Onset of the Cold War (New York, 1970); Arthur Schlesinger Jr, “Origins of the Cold War” Foreign Affairs, 46, October, 1967, pp. 22-52.

Revisionists or New Left Historians:  Revisionists place the blame on the United States rather than the Soviet Union for the start 67 of the Cold War as the end of the wartime alliance need not in itself have led to cold war. They argued that the Soviets did nothing more in Eastern Europe than any great power would have done in terms of looking after their national interests, especially after two German invasions in less than thirty years. In any event, the Russians were often merely reacting to what the revisionists portrayed as aggressive American demands for business markets and political access into this region.
Examples: William Appleman Williams, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (New York, 1959); Williams, The Roots of the Modern American Empire (New York, 1969); Gabriel Kolko and Joyce Kolko, The Limits of Power: The World and United States Foreign Policy 1945-1954 (New York, 1972); Thomas G. Paterson, Soviet-American Confrontation: Postwar Reconstruction and the Origins of the Cold War (Baltimore, 1973).

 Post-Revisionists: Tried to show that both sides had their faults and that over time both superpowers pushed their own interests and misunderstood the other side even to the point, on occasions, of leading to the possibility of nuclear war. (In fact the views that are often regarded as post-revisionist have a long pedigree. Realists like Hans Morgenthau, George Kennan and William H. McNeill’s were interpreting the origins of the cold war in a ‘post- revisionist’ way even before the revisionists came along). The post-revisionists have tended to accept the revisionists’ view that Stalin was more concerned with Soviet security, and to that end the creation of a Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern and Central Europe, than with world domination or aggressive ambitions towards Western Europe; but at the same time they have argued that that Western leaders at the time could not be certain of what Stalin was up to, that even a Soviet Union preoccupied with what Stalin perceived to be ‘security’ could still threaten Western interests, and that the Western powers therefore had legitimate and understandable concerns about Russia.

Examples:  John Lewis Gaddis, We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History (New York, 1997).

Checkpoint Charlie
Personal photo taken in 2007 near the site is what remains of Checkpoint Charlie, the name given by the Western Allies to the most well-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Germany and West Germany during the Cold War, and the from the same vantage point exactly thirty years earlier.

The site in 1961 as the Wall was being erected on left and on the night of 9 November 1989 when it fell.
Standing at the site in 2007
Describe the main differences between the Yalta and Potsdam Conferences
Near the end of World War II, global politics were at peak level. The Allies: Britain, the US and Russia, otherwise not on the most friendly of terms, were united only in their quest against Germany and the Nazis, as well as securing victory in the war. In 1945, two conferences were held with the top political leaders of Russia, the United States, and Britain. The "Big Three", as they were known, met in February 1945 at Yalta, Crimea, USSR, and then again in July at Potsdam, Germany. These conferences, the Yalta Conference and the Potsdam conference respectively, were meant to decide the future of the world after the war--decisions made by the three most powerful men in the world at the time, from the three most powerful nations. While both conferences were meant to attempt a smooth transition into post-war life, the two summits still differed greatly, even though they were intended to accomplish the same things. The main differences between the Yalta Conference and the Potsdam conference were the changes in the Big Three between the conferences, alterations in the aims of the leaders, and a general heightening of tensions between the three nations.
The difference in the leaders involved in the two conferences was a major factor in the differentiation between Yalta and Potsdam. At Yalta, the Big Three was composed of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. At Potsdam, Attlee replaced Churchill after his defeat in the British elections, and Truman took Roosevelt's position. The only constant figure in the conferences was Stalin, the leader of one of the most controversial nations in the world. As previously mentioned, the only issue the three countries truly saw eye-to-eye on was eradicating the Nazi presence from the world. Two capitalist nations allied with a vehemently communist one already poses some problems with communications, and the change from Roosevelt to Truman between the conferences only added to the discrepancies between Yalta and Potsdam. Truman stated of his "ally" Stalin that he was "tired of babying the Soviets". Roosevelt, a much more diplomatic figure, was one of the key factors in the disparity between Yalta and Potsdam. While he also had doubts about Russia, Roosevelt kept these feelings between himself and Churchill, without truly laying them out in the open. Truman openly stated that he was going to "get tough" with the Russians, and so contributed to the difference in policies that the US had regarding the Russians at Potsdam. The change in the Big Three at Yalta and Potsdam was a large part in the disparities in the two conferences.
Other contributing issues in the difference between Yalta and Potsdam concerned the objectives of the Big Three at Yalta and the disagreements over them at Potsdam. At Yalta, Germany and Japan were both undefeated at the time, yet plans were being made as to Germany's division after its predicted loss. The Big Three intended to divide up Germany into French, British, Russian, and American sections. Russia also wanted reparations to pay for the losses it had suffered at Germany's hands during the war, totalling at about 20 million deaths and the destruction of over 1000 towns. Stalin wanted harsh payment from the Germans, involving the confiscation of about 80% of its industry, allied control of the economy, and annual reparations payments made to the allies. These numbers are vital to later understanding the mentality of the Russians by the time of the so-called Long Telegram. To look into the matter, a reparations commission was set up. Furthermore, in exchange for Soviet control of Poland (reorganising the government to be made democratic), the Russians agreed to facilitate the formation of democratic states in Eastern Europe that would be freed from German control. Lastly, it was agreed upon that once Germany was defeated, Russia would formally enter the war against Japan to aid in its defeat. At Potsdam, however, these aims and objectives were forced into close scrutiny by the Big Three, and major disagreements between the three leaders occurred. By this time, Germany had been defeated, although the US was still at war with Japan. Regarding Germany, which was agreed upon at Yalta to be split into four zones, the Big Three faced open contention over the boundaries of the four sections. Germany was also forced to pay reparations to Russia, and was forced to give up 10% of its industry. However, Britain and the US felt that it was too much and that milking Germany of all its assets would leave its people poor and starving. Other disagreements that arose involved the Eastern European democratic states that were supposed to be established by Russia; Britain and the US claimed that communism was manifesting itself in those states with the aid of the Soviets, rather than the intended democracies. Lastly, Truman and Atlee had doubts in the Soviet control of Poland, after Stalin arrested all non-communists in the Polish state. Stalin wanted Atlee and Truman to recognize his authority over these "puppet states", which they refused to do. The main difference between Yalta and Potsdam was the level of consensus reached in each of the conferences. The objectives were mapped out at Yalta, and then disputed over at Potsdam. Although they apparently remained the same on paper, there was much disagreement over the application of the aims, which then translated into the major difference between the two conferences.
Another main difference between the Yalta Conference and the Potsdam Conference was the level of tensions between the Big Three. At Yalta, while there were still tensions present, most of it was hidden behind the scenes; at Potsdam, open disagreement was the case. When Churchill was part of the Big Three, he wrote to Roosevelt during Yalta "The Soviet Union has become a danger to the free world." However, at Potsdam, there were open accusations regarding Russia's approach to communism and their attempt at transforming the rest of Europe into a communist society. The changes in their objectives also inflamed tensions, with the disagreements over Germany's new borders, Soviet entitlement to reparations, and Russian power over Eastern Europe heightening the power struggles between the Big Three. Truman was also obviously angered by Stalin's move to arrest all of Poland's non-communist leaders. Additionally, at Yalta, Russia had agreed to aid the US in their war against Japan; however, by Potsdam, Truman had had news of the atomic bomb testing and avoided notifying Stalin. Stalin was furious when he discovered news of the atomic bomb's successful testing and the fact that Truman had kept Stalin in the dark. Tensions also increased when the US and Britain demanded free elections be held in Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria, whereas Stalin insisted that they would remain under his control. In general, one of the main differences between the Yalta Conference and Potsdam was the increase in strained relations between the Big Three.
Yalta and Potsdam were the two major peace conferences in World War II. They were both intended to achieve a state of post-war peace, and yet somehow metamorphosed into the arising of further global discord. Even though issues at both conferences were the same, the conferences were not. The major differences between Yalta and Potsdam were the changes in the leaders involved, a shift in the objectives and aims of the conferences, and a great heightening of tensions between the Big Three. These two conferences were what set the standards for life after World War II, and were the preludes to the events of the Cold War.
Sources Used:

Who was responsible for the Cold War?

Although differences between communism and capitalism - two opposing systems - existed before the start of World War II, relations between the United States and USSR deteriorated rapidly after the war. The US was so opposed to communism that a policy of containment was developed to prevent communism spreading. In addition, open hostility, lack of understanding, and deliberate provoking further separated the two countries. Though the Cold War was a result of many factors, the actions of the US played a significant part in weakening relations, which eventually led to non-cooperation and conflict.
Because the Soviet Union had been invaded three times in the twentieth century, security was a prime issue for Stalin. The position of the USSR after World War II was much like France after the First World War: security was needed to prevent such suffering from happening ever again. Unlike France however, whose aim was to cripple Germany, the USSR wanted to ensure security by establishing buffer states. The US could not understand this fixation with security; America had never been directly at threat from invasion in the war. Thus, the actions of the USSR were seen as a way to dominate Eastern Europe through the guise of security
In addition, communism was seen a threat to the freedoms capitalism represented. To prevent the possible worldwide expansion, the US favoured a policy of containment which was actively trying to stop communism. One way was to be firm with the Soviet Union. Truman himself was hostile and had a hard-line approach. Truman's firmness with the USSR could be understandable, considering he was thrown into a position he was not ready for, he had pressure from anti-communist groups, and the US did not want to repeat Britain's mistake of appeasing Hitler. But there is no excuse for Truman's utter disrespect: Molotov, the Soviet Foreign Minister, said of Truman's swearing that he had never been spoken to in such a manner. (I disagree; Truman's plausible excuse was that the USSR had ignored and broken agreements made at Yalta) The US treated the USSR with antagonism and dislike. This attitude towards the Soviet Union resulted in increased non-cooperation between the countries.
The US tried to alarm the Soviet Union with the dropping of the second atomic bomb on Japan. Although it was a means to end the war, Nagasaki had another reason behind it: the US wanted to scare the USSR by demonstrating they had possession of the A-bomb. Likewise, with the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan, though created for certain purposes, it was clear to Stalin that they were attacks on communism.
Consequently, many US actions were met with a Soviet response. These responses led to deeper divisions and increased non-cooperation between the two countries. As a response to the Marshall Plan, Cominform and Comecon were set up. The Warsaw Pact was a response to NATO, while the Berlin Blockade was a response to the West introducing a new German currency. It resulted in the formation of the Federal Democratic Republic and German Democratic Republic, a clear division between the East and West. Of the two countries, the United States was more responsible in worsening relations between East and West, and thus contributing to the beginning of the Cold War.
To what extent were Soviet policies responsible for the outbreak and development of the Cold War between 1945-1949?

The Cold War starting from 1945 to its end had lasted for 44 years. 44 years of different degrees and stages of tension between the two Superpowers. Who was to blame for the outbreak and development of the Cold War? Both sides were to blame, and the Soviet policies between 1945 and 1949 were, thus, responsible for it to a certain extent.
Economically, the Soviets did not allow its Eastern Bloc to receive the US's Marshall Plan aid, and set up Comecon to oppose it, and these actions by the Soviets increased the tensions between the US and the USSR. Marshall Plan was first introduced by Secretary of States George C. Marshall at Harvard University on June 5, 1947 and was passed by the US congress in March 1948. The Marshall Plan was aimed to help the reconstruction of the post-war European countries, and the countries that needed it. It was an economic and technical aid. 10% of the American GDP would go into the aid. As the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had once said, "It was the most unselfish act in history, and it was a stunning success." However, the Russian historians can argue that it was not the most unselfish act in history. Their reason was that if the countries wanted to receive the aid, it had to open up to America and would give America a chance to look into their infrastructures and how damaged the countries were. This was not what Stalin wanted; he did not want the USA to know about how devastated Soviets was. Therefore, the USSR foreign minister, Vyancheslav Molotov, called the Marshall Plan "the Dollar Imperialism". The USSR then in 1949 set up Comecon as a counter-Marshall Plan organization formed primarily to prevent the Central European countries that had expressed interest in the Marshall Plan from getting the money. Thus, the increased in tension because of the USSR preventing countries from taking the Marshall aid could not fully blamed on the USSR.
Politically, Winston Churchill, the former British Prime Minister, gave the Fulton Speech, which only contributed to the increasing tension between the two superpowers. On March 5 1946, Mr. Churchill gave his "Sinews of Peace" in Fulton, Missouri, which was the famous "Iron Curtain" Speech, and in which he condemned the USSR for taking over other countries and called for the union of "English-speaking" countries to fight it. For this, the Russian called Churchill a 'warmonger'. The reason why this happened was because on October 9, 1944, Stalin and Churchill had a secret pact in Moscow where they agreed on the 'Spheres of influence in Balkans'. In other words, Churchill gave Soviets the part which it took over later on, and condemned Stalin for doing what he agreed on. His was acting as a hypocrite. Therefore, the decline in the relation between the USSR and the West was not solely because of the USSR.
Militarily, the Berlin Blockade in June 1948, which was the closest point where the World War Three might break out before Cuban Missile crisis, was started by Stalin, so one may argue that it was Stalin's fault. In the orthodox point of view, it was Stalin who started the Blockade and nearly pushed the world into WWIII, so it was his fault. However, when the causes of the Blockade were examined, one may argue otherwise. On June 1, 1948, America and France announced that they were going to combine their zones in West Germany and create a new zone call the 'Bizonia'. They broke the agreement they signed with the USSR in the Potsdam Conference in July 1945, in which they agreed that they would split Germany into four zones so that Germany would not be strong enough to stand up and start WWIII again like what Hitler did. They broke the agreement and broke the remaining trust between them and the USSR. Furthermore, in Potsdam Conference, they also agreed that the USSR could take 10% of the other three German zones GDP as reparation, but they never paid the money. Even Stalin himself said that the real reason why he started the Blockade was because of American and France's introduction of the new currency in the West zone which directly cost the East Germany a lot of skilled workers because they all fled to the West zone, the effect of the two causes listed previously above could not be neglected. Therefore, even though it was Stalin who started the blockade but it was not entirely his fault in doing so.
From the reasons above, examined from military, economic and political point of views, the outbreak and development of the Cold War was not only the USSR's fault, but also the West. Therefore, the Soviets was responsible for it to only an extent.

In the lead-up to the Truman Doctrine.
The policy of containment was one of the most important policies the US developed. Not only did it suggest to actively seeking to prevent the spread of communism, but also it was also the key aim in "Truman Doctrine"--the Doctrine that veered the US's attitude towards the rest of the world. It said, "it was America's duty to interfere to 'help free peoples to work out their own destiny in their own way'", which abandoned the previous policy, the policy of isolation. How did the allies in the Second World War turn against each other and what caused the USA to abandon its long-term isolation policy?
In February 1945, the Big Three, Stalin, FDR and Churchill, met in Yalta. It was the second time the Big Three ever met. Even though the conference seemed to be successful, much tension had also been created. One of the points they agreed on was to help freed people of Europe set up democratic and self-governing countries by helping them to hold elections, but Stalin later on did not hold any elections in Eastern Europe, and the American press immediately turned hostile towards Russia. This action of Stalin angered the people in Britain and America, thus they realized that Stalin should not be trusted completely. Tension usually was higher when countries mistrusted each other.
In July 1945, the Big Three met again in Potsdam, but two of the Big Three were new, President Truman of America and Prime Minister Attlee of Britain. They did not know what secret deals were agreed on in Yalta Conference, therefore they were a little passive, because Stalin could just make up some deals that were not agreed in Yalta, but they would never know. Stalin, in their eyes, was greedy because he kept asking for more reparations and lands, however Truman and Attlee kept refusing the requests. Both sides were displeased. Unhappiness was always a factor of tension forming.
The most important reason why the policy of containment developed was George Kennan's Long Telegram. George Kennan was the deputy chief of US mission in Moscow and lived in Moscow since 1933, who personally detested Communism, and thus dislike Russia for running by Communists. He claimed that "the Russians were determined to destroy the American way of life, that they had to be stopped, and that the best way to do so was by educating the public against Communism, and by making people wealthy, happy and free."1 Also, it said that Russia is not an ally to be trusted. This alerted the US government. Although Kennan's opinions were very biased, Truman took no notice because he himself hated communism as well. This, later on, helped to develop the policy of containment.
Another important event that made the American determined to interfere the European business was the aggrandizement of the USSR, which created buffer zones, took over the Eastern Europe, and demanded for more. Americans regarded this as a threat to their own ideology, freedom of people and itself. They, more or less, feared the USSR. Therefore they needed to take action to prevent endangering itself, and thus in March 1947, Truman issued the "Truman Doctrine," and the policy of containment officially formed.
Nearly all the events that took place since 1917 contributed some tensions for US deciding to have the policy of containment, but the events that happened in 1945-1946 had more important roles to play for the policy of containment. The establishment of the policy of containment was another symbol of the declaration of the famous Cold War.

Why did the US implement containment?
After the Yalta and Potsdam conferences in 1945, with the increasing Soviet and British-US tensions, the expansion of the Soviet Union became a pressing concern for the West. The Soviet Union, an already communist society, was planning on spreading its influence throughout Western Europe as well as Eastern; to create "friendly states" along its border for various reasons. It was unclear where the Soviets would draw the line as to their expansion, so to combat the growing USSR-controlled communist monopoly, the US introduced a containment policy, intended to cause the collapse of the USSR and its satellite nations. The US had various reasons for implementing containment, mainly relating to the military, geo-politics/social issues, historical occurrences, and economics.
One of the main reasons that the United States decided to follow the containment plan and the Truman doctrine was due to potential military problems that Soviet expansion would present. The Truman Doctrine's main principle was that the USSR was to be stopped from expanding any further. If the USSR were to spread so far as the Mediterranean, and gain control of states there, their military powers would extend all the way to the Suez Canal. Even though two oceans border the US, giving it substantial protection against invasion, if Stalin obtained control of the Suez Canal, the US would be much more susceptible to attack by the Communist states, as navy navigation would be greatly facilitated by that particular feather in Stalin's cap. Furthermore, once the Soviets expanded their military by amassing their collection of "friendly" Communist States on their border, their aim of protecting themselves from invasion would be accomplished. For the US, this would present a problem further along the line if war were ever to be an option, unless they used nuclear power. Even though the Americans were in possession of the A-bomb, devastating the entirety of Europe, were it to be completely in Stalin's hands, was simply not an option, as destroying it would mean no chance of its resuscitation to perhaps democratize it again. Additionally, the Soviets' already formidable Red Army, a force to be reckoned with in the US' eyes, would expand along with territorial gains, and this was not something Truman wanted. Already, the USSR was perceived as "paranoid and neurotic", predisposed towards violence, and after the Potsdam conference, was regarded as untrustworthy. The notion of having the Soviet military grow even further with these attributes was unthinkable for Truman and his new doctrine. Also, the fall of Greece and Turkey in 1946 showed the Americans the extent to which expansion was occurring, and the possibilities of approaching war. After just having fought one war, the notion of encountering World War III was not something the US wanted to entertain. Military reasons were an enormous factor when the US decided to implement containment.
Further issues that the US considered when implementing containment were related to geo-political and social problems Soviet expansion would pose. If the USSR were allowed to expand into the Mediterranean, as previously stated, the Suez Canal would then fall into Soviet possession. As a key passageway, the Soviet Union would then have complete control over the traffic through this channel between the East and the West. This would give them untold power over the rest of the world, not excluding the US, a power the US was extremely unwilling to hand over to the Soviets. Moreover, control over the Suez Canal would mean having a monopoly over the abundant oil resources in the area. Oil, a vital commodity in world politics, practically represents political immunity for the state in control of it. Were Stalin to expand to the Suez, these resources would then fall into his hands, giving him further power over nations importing this precious commodity--nations like the US. In addition, control over regions such as the Middle East, an area torn by war and strife, already crumbling and corrupt, would be simple to secure; extending Soviet influence to the Middle East would mean great trouble for the Americans--another large area of the globe coming under Communism. As China was falling to the Communists, a neighbor of Japan--a rising world power--communism in the East was becoming a major issue for the US. If the entire Middle East were added to the mix, the "domino effect" would then ensue: the effect of allowing one regional state to fall to Communism means the imminent threat of the entire region, like a row of dominoes toppling. As mentioned beforehand, the possibility of WW III was also present, something which would present a massive social problem. Furthermore, if the Soviets actually had control of territory all the way to the Middle East, the USSR would have a huge advantage over the US in warfare terms, because of the geography of the regions in Soviet possession. Because of significant geo-political/social issues, the US felt compelled to apply containment to the Soviet Union.
The US also felt that if they sat back and let the USSR expand, history would repeat itself in a manner not in its best interests. After World War 1, when the US began to develop its isolationist policy, and allowed the appeasement of Hitler in 1939 and succumbed to his demands, Hitler then grew to conquer the world and cause much destruction throughout Europe. If the US were to take this same attitude with the Soviets, there would be no telling that similar situations would not occur. Truman especially held faith in this theory, and felt a strong hand was needed to deal with the Soviets. Although the rest of America wished to remain isolationist, Truman believed that if the US employed that strategy, they would have a replay of the aftermath of World War 1, which then lead to the devastation of World War 2. Repetition of history was something Truman fervently wanted to avoid, and felt that the way to do that was to establish the containment policy.
Lastly, it can be argued that the main reason that the US implemented containment was the economic consequences the US would be made to suffer were the Soviets to successfully expand their Communist territories. As the most powerful economy in the world, as a capitalist economy, the US was a firm advocate of free trade and open markets. If Stalin were to convert half the world into Communist states, states which the US had previously traded with, such as Italy, and the Middle East, who provided oil, the US' economy would be extremely adversely affected. The US would then have practically no new markets to discover, and could not have their own economy grow. The Marshall Plan of June 1947, one of the facets of the US' containment policy, involved giving $ 17 billion to revive the weak countries of Europe. Marshall had previously said that Europe was a "breeding ground for hate" due to its weak economic constitution, and those weak states were highly susceptible to adopting Communism. Because of its appeal to the average working man, Communism could possibly have been integrated into many of the post-wartorn nations of Europe, such as Turkey, Bulgaria, Austria, and Hungary. By providing economic aid, the US was essentially halting the spread of Communism, so that Europe could get back on its feet and so resume free trade with the US. Furthermore, if the Soviets were to gain control of such key points of global trade such as the oil monopoly and strategic trade locations such as the Suez Canal, the US would be economically answerable to the Soviets. As a major importer of oil, who used the shipping routes through the Suez, allowing the Soviets control of these aspects of global trade would be detrimental to the US' own economy.
The US' containment policy towards the Soviet Union was intended to limit the spread of Communism before it made its way through Western Europe and perhaps further. If the Soviet Union had been allowed to expand, the effects would have been disastrous to the US in their eyes, militarily, geo-politically/socially, historically, and economically. Because of these reasons, Truman and the Americans felt it was essential to take preventative measures and implement the containment policy.

To what extent did Khrushchev help diffuse the Cold War up to 1960?

Nikita Sergeyevish Khrushchev became the Soviet leader shortly after the death of the previous Soviet leader Stalin in 1953. Everyone hoped that Khrushchev would bring a period of "thaw" in the Cold War. Although his intentions were noble the US remained cautious about the Soviet Union. Khrushchev tried various ways to help reduce the tension between the USSR and the Western countries, namely the United States, but they were only successful to a certain extent.  Within his own borders, Khrushchev was only somewhat successful in reducing tension. Khrushchev gave a "secret speech" to the 20th Party Congress on February 25th 1956. Here Khrushchev attacked Stalin and claimed he was a murderer and a tyrant and pushed for reform in the USSR and in Eastern Europe. He introduced the concept of "destalinisation". Destalinisation encouraged those living in the Eastern Europe bloc to believe that under his rule, they would never have to go through what Stalin put them through. He was willing to give them more independence and freedom. This became the foundation for many independence movements across Eastern Europe. He also tried to patch relations with Eastern European countries. In 1955, Khrushchev visited the President of Yugoslavia, Tito, and told him that "there are different roads to communism". When strikes broke out in Czechoslovakia and East Germany in 1953, Khrushchev sent in the Red Army. This action resulted in the arrest of thousands and the death of hundreds. Similarly, in the crises in Poland and Hungary, Khrushchev tried his best to appease to the people, for example when he put Gomulka and Nagy into power. But when they bordered dissent, Khrushchev put his foot down. His attempts to reduce tension in his own country were not always successful. Although he promoted change, the Iron Curtain would still remain in place. Animosity and resentment remained between the countries in Eastern Europe and the USSR.

On an international level, Khrushchev proposed many summit level talks with other countries. In 1956, during his visit to Britain, he proposed "peaceful co-existence". He was the first Soviet leader to advocate this idea and attempted to negotiate with the West regarding Cold War tension. Militarily, Khrushchev did a variety of things to try and defuse the Cold War. In December of 1957, he proposed the banning of all nuclear missiles in Poland, Czechoslovakia and other Eastern European countries.  On January 9th 1958, Khrushchev proposed another summit level talk regarding the creating of a nuclear free zone in central Europe and unifying East and West Germany under a neutral Germany (much like Austria). Weeks later, on January 26th, he again suggested holding top level talks. In March, he even offered to fly to the United States to discuss matters. To show that he sincerely wanted to reduce pressure between the USSR and the West, he stopped all testing of nuclear weapons March 31st 1958. In 1959, the Soviet leader visited the United States. He met with President Dwight Eisenhower and Heath, Laird of Glencairn at the presidential retreat, Camp David, in Maryland. Relations between the Soviet Union and the United States improved dramatically after his visit. Even though Americans were still hesitant to start rebuilding relations with the Soviets, Khrushchev was most successful in trying to reduce tensions between the two powers.

But his attempts were not always successful. Certain events, out of Khrushchev's control, caused more tension between the USSR and the West. After 1957, tensions between the USSR and the US grew again. In October of 1957, scientists in the USSR sent the first man-made satellite into space. Sputnik I was followed months later with the launch of Sputnik II. Although this "beach ball in space" did not pose any real threats, American believed that they were in danger. They feared that the Soviet Union was going to nuke Washington D.C., destroy New York or even control the minds of American citizens and brainwash them. In 1958, Congress increased it's spending in defence and passed the "National Defence Education Act" which put more funds into science and foreign language classes. China was very displeased with Khrushchev's approach and "peaceful co-existence". After his visit to the United States in 1958, the Chinese Communist party accused him of "going soft" and ordered that he did something to get the US to withdraw from West Berlin. Although another summit was planned, the "U2 Crisis" cancelled it. An American U-2 spy plane was shot down May 5th, 1960. Initially, the US government denied the existence of the plane but when the Soviet government produced the pilot, Gary Powers, they admitted that it was indeed a spy-plane. Khrushchev refused to have any further deals with Americans until the apologized and canceled all future flights. President Eisenhower refused to apologize but did cancel all future spy-plane flights. This instantly brought the tension back, undoing all the work that Khrushchev had done during his visit. 

Khrushchev did bring a temporary thaw to the Cold War but co-existence did not last long. Because of the events which took place from 1953 to 1950, Khrushchev's attempts at reducing tension were only successful to a certain extent. Although Khrushchev could not be consistent in all of his foreign policies during 1953 to 1960, his involvement in the Cold War was instrumental to the eventual full diffusion of tension between the United States and the USSR. He made his intentions of ending monolithic communism, reducing army costs and promoting a "peaceful co-existence" clear when he came into power, and the inconsistencies in action can be largely attributed to the response and influence of the West and its Eastern allies, respectively.  Under Stalin, the USSR was incessantly preparing for US aggression, while trying to rebuild a war-torn Soviet Union. The dilemma was the choice between bread for the Russian people and protection for the nation, both of which were essential to the country's survival. Khrushchev did not inherit a Russia that was free from bondage, and thus he had to find a way to negotiate with the West in order to buy peace and so to concentrate on the rebuilding of the USSR. And thus, he, as the First Secretary of the Communist Party, presented his initial ideas of reform through his secret speech in February, 1946 to more than twenty-four million people, including the Komsomol (Soviet Communist Youth), eventually publicized internationally with the help of Allen Dulles. Even so, many orthodox historians might argue that the measures taken in Budapest during the Hungarian uprising in 1957 would testify against the supposed liberalization of the Soviet sphere. The same claim could be made about Czechoslovakia, though again, Sergei Khrushchev, son of Nikkita Khrushchev and a historian as well, would eventually claim that the Soviet military involvement prevented a civil war that would have been even more detrimental.

 Having established his political stance, Khrushchev also began to cut his military financing and forces, which was about 5.5 million people in 1955. In armed forces along, Khrushchev decreased the size of the Soviet's armed forces to 640,000 in 1956, and an eventual three billion less from 1953 to 1963. The drastic changes he pushed for in politics and the military cannot be ignored as progressive actions to ensure the reduction of tension between the West and the Communist bloc. The outcome of his diplomacy, however, was only logical because though there was a temporary "Spring", shown in the installation of Gamolka and Nagy, the acceptance of Tito, departure from Austria, and visit upon American soil, the positive changes were brought to a halt by the negative responses from the West and the immediate need to return to militaristic competition and paranoia. The US, undergoing the Red Scare during that very period, was in no shape to accept the peace offerings Khrushchev made. As Sergei Khrushchev said during a recent interview, "the main purpose of the U.S.A.'s propaganda assault was not to help reforms in the Soviet Union, but to destabilize it, along with its allies." Such an impression left the Soviets no choice but to return to a hard-line approach to all Western affairs. Therefore, because of the Western party's distrust and unwillingness to cooperate, the Cold War did not thaw.

 Yet even though the West and Communist Russia did not seem to re-conciliate and the Cold War grew worse and was right on the brink of becoming a nuclear Third World War later on during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the seven years in question did illustrate the fact that the Cold War was perpetuated and fed by misunderstanding, fear and historical resentment.  Although Khrushchev could not be consistent in all of his foreign policies during 1953 to 1960, his involvement in the Cold War was instrumental to the eventual full diffusion of tension between the United States and the USSR. He made his intentions of ending monolithic communism, reducing army costs and promoting a "peaceful co-existence" clear when he came into power, and the inconsistencies in action can be largely attributed to the response and influence of the West and its Eastern allies, respectively.  Under Stalin, the USSR was incessantly preparing for US aggression, while trying to rebuild a war-torn Soviet Union. The dilemma was the choice between bread for the Russian people and protection for the nation, both of which were essential to the country's survival. Khrushchev did not inherit a Russia that was free from bondage, and thus he had to find a way to negotiate with the West in order to buy peace and so to concentrate on the rebuilding of the USSR. And thus, he, as the First Secretary of the Communist Party, presented his initial ideas of reform through his secret speech in February, 1946 to more than twenty-four million people, including the Komsomol (Soviet Communist Youth), eventually publicized internationally with the help of Allen Dulles. Even so, many orthodox historians might argue that the measures taken in Budapest during the Hungarian uprising in 1957 would testify against the supposed liberalization of the Soviet sphere. The same claim could be made about Czechoslovakia, though again, Sergei Khrushchev, son of Nikkita Khrushchev and a historian as well, would eventually claim that the Soviet military involvement prevented a civil war that would have been even more detrimental.

How did the Berlin Crisis affect the Cold War up to 1961?
"There are many people in the world who really don't understand-or say they don't-what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin!" This quote by John F. Kennedy just emphasizes why was Berlin was one of the most important issues and factors during the Cold War. Already second Berlin crisis during the years of 1958 until 1961 didn't change the Cold war rapidly, but it had affected it in way of relationships of the Western allies with Russia and the FRG, but also the relationship between two German states (the FRG and the GDR).
One of the main reasons for the changed relationship between USA and Russia during the Berlin crisis was the presidential election in the USA during this time (8th of November 1960). In these elections, John F. Kennedy had beaten Richard M. Nixon with the closest result until that time, by 0,2%. Replacement of the war veteran, republican, Eisenhower by the young democrat Kennedy meant also the different handling with their biggest opponent, Russia. While strict Dwight Eisenhower was refusing all attempts of Nikita Khrushchev of driving off the Americans from Western Berlin and recognizing the boundaries of East Germany as he demonstrated during the Geneva conference (1959) and Paris summit (1960), John F. Kennedy was trying to lower the tension by searching for common conclusion in case of Berlin and two German states. Orthodox historians such as Winston Churchill and also revisionists would argue, that Kennedy's acting was inappropriate, because from the view of possible repeating of the history, if Kennedy would continue in acting like this, it would be comparable to the Chamberlains appeasement of Hitler in the year of 1939. The appointing of the first democrat, Kennedy, since the presidential time of Herbert Hoover is related with the Berlin crisis, because American people started to realise after the tense period of the Cold War (Korean war, Poland uprising, Hungarian uprising, arm racing...) and especially during the tense arguments over the Berlin question, that it is time for change in way of decreasing this tension and Kennedy was representative of this. The change in the seat of US president during the Berlin crisis is one of the reasons, why it is not controversial that the Berlin crisis changed the relationships between these two superpowers during the Cold war.
Also the relationships between USA and Britain with one of their biggest allies the FRG were influenced by the Berlin crisis. This was caused by the inclination of the FRG more to France than to two Anglo-Saxon countries. This cooperation was also supported by the signing of the Franco-German Treaty of Friendship in Paris (14th January 1963) by De Gaulle (France) and Adenauer (FRG). This situation was created by the concern of Adenauer about the role of the FRG, because he thought that Kennedy is going to betray them by making the second-rate state from them, what was caused by the negotiations of Kennedy with Khrushchev over the West Berlin. The Cold War was influenced by this change in these relationships, because since this moment was beginning for the FRG to become independent country with its own decisions not subordinate to the decisions of the USA and Britain. However, military historians such as John Keagan would argue, that FRG or later on united Germany would be always dependent on the military decisions of the USA, what follows from the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (6th May 1955 in Paris) , where the USA is the leading state.

Last but not least was the change in the relationships between the FRG and the GDR in social but also military way. One of the most important social influences on the relationships between the FRG and the GDR was the construction of Die Berliner Maurer (13th August 1961), which was 155km long and 3,6m high. This wall created because of migration of 3mil refugees from the GDR to the FRG was standing in the middle of the city for 28 years and was dividing Berliners into 2 groups what created a big competition and hatred. This hatred could be seen for example on the slogans and posters of Berliners, such as posters of Ulbrich with the wolf ears paraphrasing the Little red riding hood and saying: "Grossmutter, warum hast du so grosse zahne?" = "Granny, why do you have so big teeth?". The building up the Berlin wall in the 1961 caused the social conflict between 2 parts of the city, which changed the relationships between these 2 countries in the Cold War. Other influences that caused the change in their relationships were the military circumstances during the second Berlin crisis. It was caused by stationing the army in the boundary of these two states, by the USSR but also by the USA, because this was one of the most important strategic areas during the Cold War. The USA didn't remove its army from the FRG since the WWII and the USSR stationed 20% of their army in the GDR during the second Berlin crisis. These social and military circumstances made the relationships between the GDR and FRG tenser after the Berlin crisis, because of the social conflicts in divided Berlin and the using of these states as the military base by two world superpowers. After the Berlin crisis were influenced mainly the relationships between the two superpowers, but also between the FRG and the GDR. This made more tension in the Cold War, especially in Germany, what was caused by the conflicts between two German states.

The Berlin Wall
On the 13th of August 1961, the communist East German government began construction of the Berlin Wall, which separated West Berlin from East Berlin and the rest of East Germany, as a response to immense numbers of East German citizens fleeing into West Berlin. The East German government called the Wall the "anti-fascist protection wall". The tensions between east and west were aggravated by a tank standoff at Checkpoint Charlie on 27 October 1961. West Berlin was now a part of West Germany, but with a unique legal status, while East Berlin was a part of East Germany. Various events had led to the establishment of this wall and it brought about certain effects on the cold war.
During the earlier stages of the cold war, Germany was the main focus with its division in the Potsdam conference (1945) and the Berlin blockade. Later on, the cold war moved from Europe (Hungary and Poland) to Asia (Korea) and African (Suez Canal). However, after the Berlin wall incident, Germany was the main point of interest again. The Soviets were concerned that Germany would recover from its WWII military and economic status and pose a threat to them while the West was worried about losing Germany as a source of influence in Europe. Also, Berlin became important because it was a place where two different ideologies were very close to each other, with Democracy in the west and Communism in the East and Berlin began to look like a sort of war front between the two. The Soviets focused more on Germany because if West Berlin surpassed East Berlin, the whole prestige of international communism would be at stake. However, Khrushchev believed that if he wanted to make the West scream, he'd have to squeeze its testicles and in this case, the testicles is Berlin and he was aware that the West would not want to risk a war over Berlin. For the west, failure in Berlin could disrupt NATO and weaken American influence in West Germany which was the key to the balance of power in Europe
The second Berlin crisis brought both superpowers to the brink of a hot war. A NSC staffer called Carl Kaysen told Kennedy, that he had prepared a study on the possibility of a limited first strike against the Soviet Union if the situation in Berlin threatened to become more dangerous. Both powers spent time in building up their military force in the region since 1955, with missiles aimed at each other from each side of the wall . On 25 July President Kennedy requested an increase in the Army's total authorized strength from 875,000 to about 1 million men, along with an increase of 29,000 and 63,000 men from the Navy and the Air Force. Additionally, he ordered that draft calls be doubled, He also requested new funds to identify and mark space in existing structures that could be used for fall-out shelters in case of attack, to stock those shelters with food, water, first-aid kits and other minimum essentials for survival, and to improve air-raid warning and fallout detection systems. Soviets were being very watchful as the wall was being built. During its construction, the west sent diplomats into East Berlin with the company of some tanks, the Soviets misunderstood, thinking the West had intentions of bringing down the wall and they deployed more force at the wall. Consequently, there was some tension at Checkpoint Charlie, which was cooled later when John. F. Kennedy told Nikita Khrushchev to tell his people to fall back and he'd do the same.
The Berlin wall became a symbol of propaganda for both sides. For the soviets it was more of a failed attempt of propaganda. This is because it made the wall look like a symbol of tyranny. In order to save their economy, Soviets locked the East Berliners inside and anyone that tried to pass it would be shot for doing so and thousands tried to escape while some say up to 171 people died during an attempt to do so. On the other hand, the West used it as a method of showing the world that democracy was the better way to go. "Freedom has many flaws and our democracy is imperfect, but we have never had to put up a wall to keep our people in." and "There are many people in the world who really don't understand-or say they don't-what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin!" (John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917 - 1963)). These quotes are proof of how the West used the wall as an advantage. The East German government claimed that the Wall was an "anti-fascist protection barrier" ("antifaschistischer Schutzwall"), intended to discourage hostility from the West, despite the fact that the entire wall's defenses pointed inward to East German territory and Thus, this position was viewed with skepticism even in East Germany; the construction of the Berlin wall had caused hardship to families that were divided by the Wall, and the Western view that the Wall was meant to prevent the citizens of East Germany from entering West Berlin was widely seen as being the truth.
In conclusion, the Berlin crisis and erection of the Berlin wall were very important because it turned all focus to Germany, was the first place the US and the USSR almost had a direct hot war and finally, because it was a failed attempt of propaganda for the USSR but a successful one for the US. It served as a continuation to the first Berlin crisis during the 40s with the Berlin blockade and airlift.

What were the main reasons why the US and the USSR moved to Détente in 1963-1975?
The term Détente is referred to the period in Cold War when the tensions between the US and the USSR reduced. The Cold War was triggered in 1945 when the US dropped the two atomic bombs, Little Boy and Fat Man, on Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki(August 9) respectively. In fact, even before 1945, the seeds of conflicts were already there despite the fact that they were allies in the Second World War. For instances, their different and contradicting ideologies (Capitalism vs. Communism), their resentments of history, their different aims in the conferences, were a few of the many causes of the Cold War. After the starting of the Cold War, the different events increased the tensions between the two Superpowers, for example the Berlin Blockade, however there was also a very short period of Détente after the Korean War such as Khrushchev's secret speech in 1955. But the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 increased the tensions exponentially; the Third World War nearly broke out. Since their relation was in such a tension, why then did they move to Détente in 1963-1975? Actually, there were many reasons, and they could be mainly examined from the US, the Soviets, and China.
Détente was needed because both the US and the USSR were feared of the war that might break out betwixt them, since it would no longer be an ordinary war, but a nuclear war, which would very likely annihilate the whole human race, the mutually assured destruction. In July 16, 1945, the success of US in the Trinity Atomic Test marked the starting of a new era--the nuclear era. Merely 4 years after the America, on August 29, 1949, the USSR also successfully tested its atomic bombs. The US no longer had the monopoly in the nuclear bombs industry, if a war broke out between the US and the USSR, both could us the atomic bombs, and it was nearly a mutually assure destruction. Only a few years after this, both the US and the USSR got the Hydrogen Bombs. In October 1962, the confrontation between the two superpowers in Cuban Missile Crisis nearly escalated into a Third World War or the First Nuclear World War. When the Soviet ships with missiles on them approached the US blockade line in Cuba, people all around the world held their breath because of the anxiety. This was when they realized that their disagreements could only have a certain limit, they could not afford to have a nuclear war, else almost everyone on this planet would be destroyed. The movie "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" directed by Stanley Kubrick, released in 1964, was a comedy, drama and a thriller reflecting one of the possible outcomes to the human race if the nuclear war broke out. It was made a couple years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, which acted, in a way, as a resonance to the Crisis, and made the people realized the serious consequences a nuclear war between the two superpowers could have. Through this series of incidents, both the US and the USSR were convinced that if a nuclear war did take place, it would give no benefits to any of them. It would be the most tragic atrocity ever happened to the Earth. Therefore, the necessity of reducing the possibility for the outbreak of a nuclear war pushed both the US and the USSR to the road to Détente.
In the USSR, the new Soviets leader, Leonid Brezhnev, felt that with the continuation of the nuclear arms race, the money and resources which could eradicate the social and economic problems of the people had to go to the military, leaving its people below the living standards, so the only way to improve it was to pursued peace between the US and itself, which would help them to divert the military expends to improving the lives of its people. The life of a USSR citizen in this period of time was really miserable, the quality and the quantity of the necessities (food, clean water, clothing and shelter) were often inadequate, and for the luxury goods, she usually had to wait for a decade to finally get the them, but due to poor quality, they usually would be broken in a short period of time compared to how much time she needed to wait for them. This scenario shows how much the quality of their consumer goods, the production capacity, and the lives of the Soviet citizens could be improved with the money and resources that were spent on the arms race with the America. Furthermore, with Détente, the Soviets could access to more advanced technology and supplies in the Western world that could help to improve their social and economic problems. Thus, pursuing a détente would act in more of a good way to the Soviets, that's why it needed a peace with the Western world.
To the US, military expense was also a problem, but unlike Soviets that was spending the money on the arms race, it focused its military power in the Vietnam War, which was a money, time, resources and manpower black hole, and it was the Vietnam War that changed the US public opinion. In both world wars, the US became one of the wealthiest countries on Earth by selling the weapons to the other countries to boost its economy and it was believe that the US was all powerful. It wasn't until the Vietnam War did the people changed their views. The Vietnam War had caused large budget deficits and high inflation in the US, also it took the First World Country over a decade, and it still did not win the war against a tiny Third World Country, and this was when the people realized that the US also had its limits. If it were at a war against the USSR, it might not win. Therefore, a peace with the USSR was favoured because it would allow them to uphold their interests without the intervention of military. Moreover, the different ideal policies of the US presidents on creating a better US domestic society, for examples Mr. Kennedy's New Frontier and Mr. Johnson's Great Society, were undermined because of the extremely large expense of the US on the Vietnam War which at its peak was $2000million per month in 1968. The American would obviously prefer to spend this $2000million to eradicate the domestic problems than fighting a war at the other side of the globe. The US government realized that only through Détente with the USSR could they free more resources and money from the military budget to the domestic causes.
Furthermore, China acted as a catalyst for both the US and the USSR to move to Détente. China's relation with the USSR worsened and in 1969 there was a border dispute near the Ussuri River between the Soviet and the Chinese. Actually before that, China and the Soviets already had some problems with each other. From the Khrushchev's secret speech in 1955 on, China was not content with the USSR because the USSR's communism was not like the Stalinist communism anymore. China, at this point, wanted to be the leader to the Communist Countries. So the relation of China and the USSR was getting worse. In 1972, the President of the United States Richard Nixon visited Beijing, the capital city of China, with the objective of improving the sino-American relation. The USSR saw it as a threat because of if the US and the China united together against it, the consequences were not so optimistic. Having both of its opponents together would put the Soviets in a bad position which should be prevented. Therefore, moving to Détente with the US, it would do the Soviets a favour in not putting itself in a disadvantage spot.
In conclusion, the main causes for the Soviets and the United States moving to Détente could be mainly explained in terms of the US, the USSR and China. However, the Europe countries played a rather important role in successfully moving them to Detente as well, for instance Brandt's Ostpolitik. Even though this period of Detente did not last forever, it did help to reduce the tension between the two superpowers and prevented a Third World War but with nuclear arms from happening so far.
IBO Internal Assessment example:

To what extent did events in the final year of the Second World War turn wartime allies into Cold War enemies?
I against my brother, I and my brother against our cousin, I, my brother and our cousin against our neighbour, all of us against the foreigner. This Bedouin proverb strikingly summarizes the transition from wartime allies to enemies in 1945: it is the compulsion to fight the enemy that glues together even the most unlikely of allies. The reason why the USA and UK fought alongside the USSR during the Second World War was their common will to defeat Nazi Germany. This was also the motivation behind Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill’s cooperation during the Yalta conference of February 1945, as the war against Germany, although in its final stages, was still raging. This changed at the Potsdam conference of July, by which time Germany had already surrendered; the common enemy was no longer a binding force, the old allies were left to fall apart. This disintegration continued from 1945 until its climax at the Berlin Blockade of 1948.

The orthodox reason for the change from allies to enemies, incessantly campaigned in IGCSE textbooks, is that, as the Wehrmacht retreated between the Yalta conference in February and the Potsdam conference in July 1945, the Red Army remained mobilised. Stalin, apparently defying decisions made at Yalta, did not liberate the countries in Eastern Europe, but instead occupied them with his troops, much to the vexation of the Western allies. It is customarily argued that it became established Soviet policy to make them ‘voluntary’ satellite states through infiltration and subversion[1], while Britain and the US nobly called for self-determination. However, what is often ignored by this simplistic argument is that Stalin could not merely haul the the largest army in history, millions of hungry, armed, bloodthirsty men, back to the destructed USSR. Additionally, according to the Percentages Agreement Churchill made with Stalin in 1944, it was decided to split countries in Eastern Europe such as Bulgaria, Romania and Yugoslavia, into spheres of influence, with the use of vague ratios of influence[2]. Self-determination was hence not considered worthy of protection. Stalin, therefore, had a claim, although very ambiguously dealt, to influence in liberated Eastern Europe. Britain and the US could care less whether the countries of Eastern Europe remained under Communist occupation; their interests were concentrated in Greece and Turkey, areas that were, in turn, not Stalin’s concern. The factor that did motivate the Western allies to stand up to the Soviet Union was Moscow’s control of Poland. Britain had gone to war and lost five hundred thousand men for Polish liberation from Nazi occupation and could not now lose it to the Soviets. This was the primary reason for British opposition to Soviet influence in Eastern Europe, particularly Poland, not the ideals of self-determination. After all, at Yalta, while it was declared that Poland would be “independent and democratic[3]”, the rest of Eastern Europe was merely suggested to be “liberated from Nazi occupation”[4].

Another major factor in the progression from friends to foes was the acquirement of the Atomic Bomb by the United States of America, especially its first detonation on the 15th of July 1945, just one day before the Potsdam Conference commenced. This was a momentous event for two reasons. Firstly, it alarmed Stalin, as all his efforts to modernise and catch up to the West, “making good the hundred year gap in ten years”, were suddenly annulled when the USA procured this seemingly omnipotent weapon. As William Shakespeare aptly penned, “Tis best to weigh the enemy more mighty than he seems.” Stalin thus immediately triggered the Arms Race and, in a speed that proves how much the American detonation unnerved him, acquired his own just four years later, in 1949. Secondly, the fact that the Americans now had the Bomb meant that the Soviet Union did not have to join the effort against Japan, as had been determined at Yalta. Not only was the German threat gone that unified the allies, now the Japanese was too, rendering further partnership between the USA and USSR meaningless. Moreover, as the USA and Great Britain had atomic weapons stationed in Western Europe, Stalin had to occupy more land in Eastern Europe in order to increase the distance between the weapons and Moscow. This would make it more difficult for B-29 bombers to reach the capital. The fact that Britain and the USA worked closely together in the Manhattan Project from 1942 to 1946 further accentuates their isolation of Stalin in matters of nuclear weapons, setting the foundation for the Arms Race.

The Nazi surrender, the Communist occupation of Poland and the detonation of the Atomic Bombs were the principal incidents during the last year of the Second World War that fuelled the transition from allies to enemies. After all, the decisions made at the Yalta and Potsdam conferences in 1945 disclose remarkable cooperation between the powers. An example is Stalin’s authorization of a French zone in Germany and West Berlin, despite the poor French performance during the war. The other main driving factors in the creation of Cold War enemies occurred after the war: the creation of Bizonia, Marshall Plan and the Deutschmark. It is commonly argued that the Truman Doctrine of 1947 played a substantial role in antagonizing the ex-allies[5] and that Stalin perceived it as a direct affront to his policies. However, the significance of this particular American policy is overemphasized. As eminent historian Tony Judt cogently argues, the Truman Doctrine was in fact welcomed by Stalin as evidence of the collapse of capitalism and a manifestation of the seemingly obvious upcoming war between the US and UK in Greece and Turkey[6]. Therefore, it did not have a momentous effect on the animosity between East and West. Instead, one must asses the fusion of the American and British zones in Germany as a larger threat to Stalin. This was a direct affront to the agreement made at Yalta to keep Germany divided in four zones ruled by a supranational force and it is not surprising that Stalin felt provoked: not only was he disregarded in the process of creating Bizonia, but this new territorial arrangement had the appearance of a unified, opposing front. The simple fact that France was reluctant to join in creating Trizonia highlights their recognition that this would agitate and alienate Stalin. It is also frequently argued that the Marshall Plan antagonized Stalin and thus further distanced the ex-allies from one another, drawing the Iron Curtain across Europe. Stalin perceived this “most selfless act in human history” as a selfish American scheme to bind Europe to the dollar, creating an anti-Soviet Bloc and undermining Communism from there[7]. However, a more consequential force pushing the allies to enemies was the introduction of the Deutschmark in West Germany in 1948, as this was what triggered the Berlin Blockade, giving Stalin a legitimate economic reason to barricade his sector from the devastating new currency. The permission of the free flow of a more stable, advantageous currency will always cause hoarding and emigration, severely weakening the economy of the region not using this currency. Therefore, although his blockading of West Berlin was radical and aroused much hostility between East and West, it is understandable that Stalin wished to protect East Germany from such economic and social deterioration.

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” Sun Tzu, in his influential work The Art of War, puts to word the spirit of the Cold War. The period from 1945 to 1948 witnessed the disintegration of wartime comrades to post-war adversaries, until the two fronts either side of the Iron Curtain spent the next 44 years in cold, testing rancour.

[1] Skousen, Willard Cleon. The Naked Communist. Page 245. C&J Investments, 1958.
[2] Trachtenberg, Marc. A Constructed Peace: the Making of the European Settlement 1945-63. Page 5. Princeton University Press, 1999.
[3] Harbutt, Fraser J. Yalta 1945: Europe and America at the Crossroads. Page 313. Cambridge University Press, 2010.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Weiner, Bernard. The Truman Doctrine: Background and Presentation. Page 12. University Microfilms, 1974.
[6] Judt, Tony. Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945. Page 133. Random House, 2010.
[7] Roberts, Geoffrey. Stalin’s Wars: from World War to Cold War, 1939 to 1953. Page 46. Yale University Press, 2006.
Analyse the extent to which the U.S. policy of containment was successful in:
1. Europe
2. Asia
3. The Middle East
4. Latin America

The United States was a phenomenal success at containing communism after 1945, as long as one considers success as not falling to communism itself. I maintain, however, that the measure of success we should expect is the quarantine of communism to its' component initial member, the Soviet Union. But in the years after World War II to the age of the Nixon presidency, the US failed to stop the expansion of communism to any efficiency. The whole of Eastern Europe fell to communism. The most populous nation on Earth, China, also went communist indirectly taking with it N. Korea and Vietnam, and making the countries of Cambodia and Laos quasi-communist. The United States even gained a communist satellite 90 miles out of its' boundaries, Cuba. It is clear that American foreign policy with its' banner of containment was a miserable failure.

Soviet aggression in Greece and Turkey was the first major event that would force America to react to Soviet activity. In 1947, Truman met this aggression with the Truman Doctrine. The Truman Doctrine, delivered to a joint session of Congress, was basically an open pact to any group willing to stand against communism, guaranteeing them military and financial aid. This was the beginning of American efforts at containment, a concept dreamed up by State Dept. member George Frost Kennan. This is also the beginning of an embarrassing an unprecedented series of foreign policy blunders on the part of the United States. The Truman Doctrine would later be used to "justify" shady actions in Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba.

American containment was backed up by earlier efforts to consolidate the Western democratic powers against the spread of Red. The United Nations was the first materialization of this in 1945. The second, and perhaps most dramatic, was the call to arms by Britain's moral saint, Winston Churchill. He gave a speech in 1946 encouraging active endeavours to curb communism, and avoid a third world war. He spoke of an "Iron Curtain," the dangerous separation of East and West Europe where no one could see in or out. This mentality contributed greatly to the paranoia of the Cold War. The United States also promoted and joined NATO; a big step toward deterring communist expansion came in 1949. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as it stood for, was comprised of the major W. European powers and the United States. The treaty provided for collective defence of the member nations, and considered an attack against one an attack against all. This also provided a presidential loophole for military intervention by America in any foreign struggle without Congress declaring war (i.e. Korea, Vietnam, Bay of Pigs). Unfortunately, this backfired, and instead of deterring communist expansion, forced a paranoid Soviet Union to flex its' muscles. In 1955, to counter the NATO buildup, the USSR formed an equally conglomerate alliance with Eastern European nations. The Warsaw Pact, as it was known, shrouded virtually all of Eastern Europe in the Iron Curtain. Poland, Bulgaria, E. Germany, Romania, and many others were now no more than puppet nations held by the Grand Puppeteer, Russia. In one fell swoop the Soviet Union gained almost as much land as Napoleon or Hitler; but without a war. America's idea of a united effort at the containment of Communism had boomeranged into a united expansion of communism.

The end of World War II brought the redrawing of boundaries all over the world. Korea, conquered by Japan during the war, was divided at the 38th parallel then given to the USSR in the north and the US in the south. The Soviets pulled out of N. Korea in 1950, leaving a communist regime behind. That regime, funded and equipped by The Peoples Republic of China, invaded S. Korea. The United Nations (led, of course, by the United States) raised an army to restore peace and expel the aggressors. The "conflict" lasted three years and victory changed hands twice before the bloodied United States established a cease-fire zone on the familiar 38th parallel. Some might say that communism in this case was successfully contained, however, the loss of 53,000 American lives in a fruitless attempt to topple a regime is hardly a victory.

A similar yet more gruesome failure of the United States would materialize in Vietnam. Vietnam declared independence from France in 1945, which the French did not recognize. A war broke and after 8 years of fighting the decision came in 1954 to split the country in two, North Vietnam being Communist and South Vietnam led by the Vietnamese who supported the French. Diem, the South Vietnamese leader was assassinated in 1963, causing the U.S. to send over American troops to try to support the non-Communist regime in the South, in accordance with the Truman Doctrine. The consequent struggle would prove to be the most agonizing and long defeat of the American military in history. Fighting a traditional war in a guerilla setting and the insistence that we could win the war without popular support of the South Vietnamese were two key elements of our failure. The United States suffered 68,000 dead along with 400,000 S. Vietnamese allies. It was 1973 when we first started to withdraw our troops, and in 1976, all of Vietnam came under rule by the Communist North. Later, Vietnam would occupy Laos and Cambodia in part of an Asian Soviet bloc.

The expansion of communism to the chagrin of the United States was not over, even after the Korean Conflict and the establishment of the Warsaw Pact. In 1959, the government of Cuba fell to the charismatic Fidel Castro and his regime. The establishment of communism less than 100 miles outside of the United States was achieved by a rag-tag band of guerilla warriors. The American machine of democracy was unwilling or unprepared to stop this, either for fear of judgment from the international community or of the shortsightedness caused by a general distaste for Cuba's previous Batista government. This would later come back to haunt them, in both the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The United States government, realizing the problem Castro's Cuba could be, planned a literal exertion of the Truman Doctrine. The Bay of Pigs was initiated and "organized" by the late Eisenhower administration. When JFK came into office, the plan seemed rather an attractive display of power to the new administration. Although the plans themselves were not fully organized and the timeframe was horrible, JFK through the CIA ordered the execution of the operation. On Apr. 17, 1961, an armed force of about 1,500 Cuban exiles landed in the Bay of Pigs. The plan backfired as the exiles were ambushed and gunned down mercilessly; American air support never arrived. Containment was dashed once again.
A year later, the "chilliest" moment of the Cold War broke out, again in communist Cuba. The Soviet Union had made a deal with Fidel Castro to place nuclear weapons on the island of Cuba. These missiles gave the Soviet Union the chance to hit American targets without an air offensive. The range of these missiles was 3,000 miles, enough to demolish all the eastern seaboard of the US, Washington DC, Dallas, Miami, and Houston. Only after a U2 flight over the island captured the Soviets in the midst of building silos was the United States aware of these proceedings. On October 22, JFK announced a "quarantine" (blockade) of Cuba, and said that any further attempts to arm Cuba would be an act of war requiring a full retaliatory strike of the US nuclear arsenal. This was the closest the world had ever come to the much-speculated Dooms Day. "Assured Mutual Annihilation," as it was known formally by the Pentagon, was some say no more than 6 minutes from materialization at the height of the Crisis. On October 28, Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev "backed down" from the crisis and removed the silos from Cuba. Later revelation revealed that Khrushchev didn't so much back down as he had made a deal. The United States secretly agreed to take out similarly installed Jupiter missiles from Turkey for the exchanged removal of Cuban silos. The Cuban Missile Crisis was a propaganda victory for the United States and an undisclosed blow to containment.

Some may contend that since the Soviet Union ultimately fell, the policy of containment was successful. This is an overly generous statement. The Soviet Union fell under its own weight; its' robust military expenditures, and the cost of administering to such a large country could not be sustained, and the Union was lost in bankruptcy. Even though 1989 marked the end of the Cold War, the Soviet Union is still not completely dead. Russian "President" Putin has strong socialist leanings and, today, most eastern European countries, (Albania, Romania, Hungary, Germany, and others) have active and moderately strong socialist/communist parties. As another symbol of the United States failures to contain communism, nations aside from those under the Soviet bloc remain to this day. Vietnam, Laos, North Korea, Cuba, and China (1.3 billion Red Chinese strong) are still completely Communist nations. Not only was American containment in the height of the Cold War a failure, but its' failures can be seen to this day.

Assess the significance for the development of the Cold War between 1945 and 1950 of three of the following:

a. The Yalta Conference, 1945

b. The Iron Curtain speech, 1946

c. The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, 1947

d. The expulsion of Yugoslavia from the Soviet block, 1948

e. The Berlin Blockade and Airlift, 1948-1949
f. The formation of NATO, 1949.

The Yalta Conference, Berlin Blockade, Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan were all central causes of the escalating post-World War II tensions between Russia and the United States that would lead to 40 years of Cold War between these two powers. However, to understand how these events were so central to this escalation of tension, we must also understand the nature of the tensions and thus the Cold War itself, something subject to much debate, especially within revisionist circles. On the one hand we have Denna Frank Fleming, who’s seminal work “The Cold War and its Origins” portrayed this conflict as primarily an ideological one, whilst on the other hand William Williams and Gabriel Kolko consider the escalation of tensions as chiefly of economic origin. Hence, this essay shall analyse the significance of each of the above events in the causation of the Cold War from two central perspectives – an ideological and an economic one – with the aim of, through this approach, shedding light on this historiographical debate within the context of these three undoubtedly crucial incidents.

The Yalta Conference was significant not so much due to the conflicts initiated during the conference itself; indeed, the allies posited a surprisingly close-knit united front, but instead Yalta was significant in that it established the grounds for Future conflicts in it’s failure to address key areas of disagreement between the Allied nations. Hence, when analysing the Yalta conference, we must consider which ideological and economic disagreements it failed to address and the relative significance of these failures. The main source of ideological differences, the question of the fate of Eastern Europe, seemed to be somewhat resolved at Yalta. Stalin was granted a “Sphere of Soviet Influence” over much of Eastern Europe, something he himself had passionately argued for as a buffer zone as a defence from a potential renewed attack from the West. This promise, however, laid the basis for one of the most intense ideological conflicts of the early Cold War era. An instant contradiction can be seen in that Roosevelt, upon his return from Yalta, announced a definitive end to all “spheres of influence and balances of power… that have been tried for centuries and have failed." Indeed, the official stance of America had been, since the end of the 1930s, decidedly against the whole idea of “spheres of influence”. The reasoning goes that it was Britain and France, by allowing Nazi Germany to establish their own “sphere of influence”, which were at fault for the Second World War. The implication states that allowing powerful nations to exert power beyond the borders was the first step towards imperialism, an ideology that the United States was, as a former colony itself, opposed to. This fear of soviet expansionism was further heightened by the political rejection of communism itself within the United States, which had supported the monarchist “White Army” during the Russian Civil War and had sought to open diplomatic relations with the communist state only by 1933. The idea of allowing a communist Russia to expand its sphere of influence and thus spread the influence of this threatening ideology was a source of fear within the United States. Based on this evidence, John Lewis Gaddis argues that the establishment of a Soviet “Sphere of Influence” at Yalta, although made in agreement between the assembled leaders, laid the basis of future tensions. On the one hand, it gave Stalin the opportunity to expand the influence of his government with the aim of establishing a protective barrier, a key aim of the Soviets. On the other hand, US interests are set against the very concept of “spheres of influence”, especially in regards to Soviet expansionism. These conflicting attitudes regarding so-called Soviet imperialism would thus prove a central source of disagreement and tension at Potsdam and would result in the subsequent breakdown of Soviet-American relations, whilst the origins of this ideological conflict can be traced to the agreements at Yalta. Diplomatic historian Ian Jackson disagrees with Gaddis, however, as although disagreements regarding the expansion of communism and soviet control would become a central source of disagreement later, initiated by establishment of communist dictatorships in Poland in 1947 and Czechoslovakia in 1948, at Yalta these issues were very much of a comparatively minor nature of disagreements between public opinions, pragmatically ignored by the assembled world leaders within the secrecy of the Yalta conference. Instead, the origin of tension at Yalta was an explicit failure to address the post-war economic recovery of Russia within the context of the German question.  Stalin, at Yalta, explicitly sought to meet an agreement regarding reparations taken from Germany. Leahy, Roosevelt’s chief of staff, noted that these reparations included factories, machinery and, crucially, German manpower to be used as cheap industrial labor, amounting to a total of 10 billion US dollars to be paid in ten years. Roosevelt, seeking not to repeat the mistakes of Article 232 at Versailles, received this coolly and stalled on these demands. This would lead to Truman, later, in breaking off all negotiations regarding any coordinated attempt at a reparations policy. This disagreement had a profound effect on Stalin and the development of the Cold War. Christopher Andrew argues that Stalin sought to rebuild Russia’s industry and economy that had been destroyed by the German invasion and hence saw the refusal of the US to agree as an attempt at keeping a suffering Russia from recovering and thus posing a threat to their own new-found global dominance. This economic disagreement, unresolved at Yalta, thus led to an initial creation of suspicion between Russia and the US, later exacerbated into outright tension through similar disagreements between Stalin and Truman at Potsdam months later. Consequently we see that the Yalta conference was significant in the development of the Cold War as it established the conditions for future tensions between the United States and Russia as it failed to fully address key ideological and economic differences between these two powers.

The Truman Doctrine and Marshall plan were significant because they, in a sense, formalised the opposition between the US and Russia. Whereas previously issues had primarily been isolated to tensions at conferences and public speeches of “intent”, now a clear stance of intent and opposition had emerged codified into policy. The Truman doctrine was a promise made by the United States to help democracy under threat, whilst the Marshall plan was a promise of economic aid so as to stimulate post-war recovery in Europe. In a sense then, both were forms of aid, one ideological, the other economic. Thus, within the context of our above debate, we shall examine the relative significance of each of these types of aid. Truman announced his doctrine on the 12th of March 1947 as American support for "free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures" within the context of military aid for Greek resistance against Communism. The Truman Doctrine principally stated the intention of the United States to fully abandon its pre-war isolationism and to thus play a leading role in global politics, essentially taking the torch from Britain as the world’s “policemen”. Fleming argues that the Truman Doctrine was a formalization of the long-term goals of Truman himself. The US, threatened by what they perceived as, to quote Fritz Fischer, Stalin’s own “Griff nach der Weltmacht”, used the Truman Doctrine to present its own hardline policy: they would not, under any circumstances, bend to the wishes of the Soviet Union. This set the United States, in its very principles, dead against Russia. Stalin now sees that not only will the US remain in Europe, but that on principle the United States will always stand in fundamental opposition to his own aims. Hence we see that the ideological implications of the Truman Doctrine: it formalized US foreign policy opposition towards Stalin and thus established the ideological justification for long-term conflict between Russia and the US (i.e. the Cold War). Kolko, on the other hand, dismisses the significance of these ideological implications and indeed the significance of the Truman Doctrine altogether. He considers the Doctrine as little more than a flimsy justification and thus moral façade for a greater economic movement made by the United States. Following Atlee’s announcement of Greece being bankrupt, Truman announced his Doctrine as a means of establishing economic control within Europe. The Doctrine, through its terms, would legitimize any move Truman would make to stabilize a country on the verge of economic collapse and thus “falling to the communists.” This legitimization allows the provision of economic aid to struggling democracies, gravely indebting them to the US in return for “protection” from communist takeover. This debt allows the US valuable diplomatic advantages over these nations, establishing (somewhat ironically) their own economic sphere of influence over non-communist Europe. For Kolko, the Marshall Plan is a blatant example of this. Initiated in April 1948 and providing Europe (mostly Britain) with 12.5 billion US dollars of aid over three years, the Marshall Plan appears to be “the most unselfish act by any great power in history”. Kolko disagrees; he argues that the Marshall Plan sought to rebuild European economies in the capitalist image of the United States. This influx of money would develop a consumer culture within these nations that would set them in opposition to the anti-capitalist Soviet Union and thus as allies to the United States. Indeed, the effects of this can still be seen today in the economic alliances made by Britain and Germany with the United States in placing sanctions upon Russia due to the Ukraine crisis. Hence, Kolko shows how the Marshall Plan was just an extension of the Truman doctrine, establishing and expanding American control over their economic sphere of influence in Europe. Fleming disagrees with Kolko, in that he cannot deny the ideological altruism of the US with the Marshall Plan. Here, his defence of Russia fails somewhat, however the Marshall Plan did help to emphasise his points on the Truman Doctrine: the suspicion that the ideology of the Doctrine bred in Russia led Stalin to reject any proposal from the United States, even one as altruistic as the Marshall Plan. Hence we see the extent of the opposition created by the Doctrine between these two nations. Consequently we see that the economic and ideological motivations of the US, both in the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan, were hugely significant as they divided Europe into two opposing parties, one led by Stalin, the other by the US, whose conflict, established here, would then characterise the rest of the Cold War.

While the Yalta conference set the groundwork for an escalation in tensions and the Truman Doctrine (and Marshall Plan) formalised the Opposition between the two former allies, the US and the Soviet Union, it was the causes and consequences of the Berlin Blockade that brought these tensions to a head and, in doing so, cemented both the position of the United States in Europe as a counter to the “Soviet threat”. From an ideological standpoint, such as the one adopted by soviet historian Martin McCauley, the Berlin Blockade occurred as a result of the failure to resolve differences regarding the German question, first addressed at Yalta three years previously. The United States sought to avoid a second Versailles by rebuilding Germany under the watchful eyes of the West, whilst Stalin wanted to step into the shoes of Clemenceau in 1919 and grind Germany into the dust, never to threaten Russia again. The issue at hand was that these disputes were never co-operatively resolved. Instead, the Soviets had their own policies, taking German industry to Russia as reparations and sending large numbers of “war prisoners”, often Jews, to Gulags in Siberia, whilst the West followed their own, including economic rebuilding and the unification of the British and American zones into a German Bizonia in 1947 and, in 1948, the planning of a united West Germany with France. This caused the Soviets great anxiety. They saw the West breaking the agreements made at Yalta regarding a divided Germany, instead unifying their powers into what the Soviets perceived as a direct confrontational threat to the communist East. The Soviets, angered by these breaches of agreement, sought to drive out the Americans by blockading Berlin: if the Americans lost Berlin, they’d be seen as ineffective, thus damaging the alliances and trust they had formed with Britain and France. Hence we perceive the Berlin Blockade as a distinctly ideological conflict. It was an attempt to make the West (respectively the East) seem weak in a fight for the Symbolic capital of Germany, Berlin. As Marx famously stated: “Whoever controlled Berlin controlled Germany and whoever controlled Germany controlled Europe.” Thus, this renewed “Battle for Berlin” between America and Russia was a purely symbolic and ideological battle to establish relative dominance within Europe. The fact that the US succeeded in keeping Berlin and forced Stalin to call off the blockade in 1949 thus was a clear signal to the world of the determination of the US to remain in control of Europe and in opposition of the Soviet Union. Economist Randall Newnham disagrees, however, with this view. He states that the Berlin Blockade was caused by the culmination of economic disagreements between East and West and resulted in the establishment of two distinctly conflicting economic entities that would characterise the rest of the Cold War. In addition to the previously mentioned economic disagreement regarding aid and reparations, which had served to build tensions between East and West, the introduction of the Deutschmark into the Western Zones proved to be the final straw. The plans for a new currency, devised with the aim of stabilising Germany’s economy, were made in secret, without the knowledge of Stalin. When Stalin found out, he stood in total opposition for it. Lenin famously stated, “The best way to destroy a capitalist system is to debauch its currency.” Stalin, a fanatical Leninist, thus interpreted this new currency as a means of rebuilding Germany, achieving the reverse of Lenin’s quote by protecting the capitalist system in Germany with the Deutschmark. The fact that the Blockade started on the 24th of June 1948, the day after the introduction of the Deutschmark, shows that the primary motivation for the blockade was an economic one. Additionally, once the blockade had fallen in 1949, Germany had become irrevocably split economically and thus, as a consequence, politically. The West, faced by the crisis of the Blockade and Airlift, had been driven to unity within Germany. No longer were there three zones, three economic policies and three currencies. Instead there was a single West Germany, with its single central bank, currency and government managing a capitalist, free-market economy. In the East, the so-called German Democratic Republic operated as a satellite of Russia, under communist control and operating under its own, planned economy, with its own currency, the Ostmark, and own economic policy. Hence we see that the Berlin Blockade brought together the various economic conflicts in Germany to establish a firmly divided Germany, with East and West in total opposition. Accordingly, we see that the Berlin Blockade was hugely significant in the development of the Cold War as it was both an end and a beginning. It was an end of East-West cooperation in Europe, as Russia and America especially, brought into direct competition for the first time, firmly established themselves in Europe. It was a beginning of a Europe split ideologically and economically in a clearly defined conflict between the capitalist “democracies” and the socialist “dictatorships”.

In conclusion, we see that the Yalta Conference, Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan and Berlin Blockade all played crucial roles in the development of the Cold War, albeit in different ways. The Yalta Conference provided the conditions for the dissolution of wartime alliances and the escalation of tension, the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan codified the opposition between the Soviet Union and the US on the global stage, whilst the Berlin Blockade cemented America’s position and opposition to communism in Europe, irrevocably dividing Germany in the process. As for the historiographical debate regarding these issues, both approaches present strong evidence to support their views, yet neither provide a definitive answer. Hence, in seeking an answer, we must consider a balance between the various views.